Welcome to TV Party, a weekly segment where we preview ten of the week’s most exciting match-ups in college football so you know when to grab some beer and ignore the outside world.
This week: COLLEGE FUCKING FOOTBALL RETURNS SO WHAT THE FUCK IS YOU DOING ON SATURDAY?!
GAME 1: THE BATTLE OF THE CAROLINAS
You’ve seen this before: the wine and cheese elitists from Chapel Hill get gassed up on preseason expectations and think that they stand a chance against Steve Spurrier. Except this time there’s some actual validity to those preseason expectations of beating the HBC! The game is being played in Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium. Neither team will have much of a home field advantage, as Charlotte is as close to the border as you can imagine, with plenty of Tar Heels and Gamecock alumni to boot. Yet, despite all of that, there are still 20,000 seats available. Walk, don’t run, to one of the most ridiculously mediocre kickoff games!
The first official game of the season kicks off from Charlotte on Thursday, September 3rd at 6 PM on ESPN.
GAME 2: THE MIDWEST LOVES REDEMPTION GAMES (PART 1)
There’s a recurring theme for some of this year’s opening games in the Big Ten: redemption. Last year, Michigan got walloped at home by Utah, which all but drove the nail in the coffin for Brady Hoke. This year, the Wolverines travel to Salt Lake City to take on the Utes in Jim Harbaugh’s debut. The challenge to start the “We’re Back” climb might be harder than many Michigan faithful think. Utah is a decent Pac-12 team going into the 2015 season with a lot of momentum built up from a strong showing last year. The game is a good measuring stick for two teams who are kind of afloat among competition that’s more of a known quantity.
Coverage begins from Rice-Eccles Stadium at 8:30 PM on Fox Sports 1.
GAME 3: THE MIDWEST LOVES REDEMPTION GAMES (PART 2)
Well, well, well – here we are again. Seems like Redemption is the trendy new pop-up store in the Midwest. Its next stop is in Minnesota, where the Golden Gophers are ready to answer the Horned Frogs’ inquiry of “Do you want more?” To which, the answer is maybe. Minnesota returns a great pass rush that will keep the Frogs’ Trevone Boykin on his toes. TCU, on the other hand, is still a defensive-minded team with an offense that happens to be great. Oh, and the Horned Frogs are going to have their foot on the gas until Gary Patterson barrels his way into the Playoff. I’d say Minnesota might be done scheduling home-and-home games against TCU after this.
Kickoff is live from TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis at 8 PM on ESPN.
GAME 4: THE PRODIGAL SON RETURNS
Without Chris Petersen, Boise State would just be an FBS team with a blue field and a decent history in the Mountain States. Petersen led the Broncos to national prominence with multiple BCS appearances and a sterling .885 coaching record. Now that he’s become head coach of a power conference school in Washington, he’s become an establishment figure among Boise State faithful. This game might not mean anything as far as Top 25 stakes are concerned but there’s a whole Biblical passage worth of heady symbolism to be had. Petersen will be standing across the side lines from his former BSU assistant, Bryan Harsin, as the Broncos try to claim another season opening win against a power conference team. It may not be the prettiest football, but it’ll be worth it to see how many times the cameras focus on the faces of Harsin and Petersen.
Endless narratives start at 10:15 from Albertson Stadium in Boise on ESPN.
GAME 5: PRIVATE SCHOOLS BATTLE OVER SOMETHING OTHER THAN SMUGNESS
Northwestern is an institution whose football program has been something of a perennial up-and-comer since Pat Fitzgerald took the reins. Its had indescribable highs that have regressed into dust seemingly overnight. Stanford, on the other hand, is a school that has busted through the up-and-comer label to become a languidly paced killing machine. This game is notable for no reason at all, other than to bore you into a nice afternoon nap.
Coverage begins at 12:00 PM on Saturday, September 5th on ESPN from Evanston, Illinois.
GAME 6: PETRINO TAKES ON THE GUS BUS
The last time Gus Malzahn faced off against Bobby Petrino was when Malzahn was the offensive engineer of Auburn’s scorched earth run to the national title in 2010. After an injured Ryan Mallet was sidelined in the 4th quarter, the Tigers racked up four touchdowns to put the game away with a 65-43 victory. If there was any game to indicate that the rest of the SEC would follow suit towards a more offensive minded future, this was it. Now, the two are on the opposite sidelines again. This time, Petrino’s goal is to slow down the Mad Max: Fury Road-styled offense of Auburn. To which we say, good luck, guy!
CBS broadcasts live from the Georgia Dome at 3:30 on Saturday.
GAME 7: TAKE TO THE SKIES
Arizona State and Texas A&M are teams known for their high flying offenses. Both are known to dazzle their opponents with quarterbacks that just lob long passes to more than capable receivers. The Aggies, however, are still in the midst of a quarterback battle that may not be decided until game day with Kyler Murray and Kyle Allen. Meanwhile, Arizona State knows that they are getting a cannon out of Mike Bercovici. The key to victory here though is defense with one team whose defensive identity has remained on a milk carton. A&M recently hired John Chavis from LSU but that doesn’t necessarily mean that change happened in the offseason. These two are probably the most evenly matched teams of the Saturday slate which is probably your best bet for an entertaining match.
YESSIR! begins at 7 PM from NRG Stadium in Houston on ESPN.
GAME 8: TOUCHDOWN JESUS FORGIVES YOU OF ALL YOUR SINS, TEXAS BOOSTERS
Texas heads to South Bend for a game that is heavy on tradition but light on competition. Charlie Strong enters his second year with the Longhorns with a lot of expectation but not enough potential to meet that expectation. The Fighting Irish are heading into the year with a lot of promise as they always tend to do. The exception is that Notre Dame might actually be as good as advertised. This might be the game where Texas pays penance for not firing Mack Brown soon enough.
NBC starts its annual love affair with Notre Dame at 7:30.
GAME 9: WELCOME TO HELL, PAUL CHRYST
Could it be any worse? I mean, really? Imagine you’re a first year head coach, you’re an alumnus of the program you’re coaching, and you’ve been saddled with returning the program to a national spotlight that has been unseen two head coaches ago. Yet, your first game in that spotlight is against college football’s immortal hydra. Well, welcome to Paul Chryst’s world. We hope it works out for you, buddy!
Alabama lords its tentacles over Jerry Jones’ AT&T Stadium until it allows Wisconsin in at 8 PM. You can watch the Big Ten’s sacrificial goat get slaughtered on ESPN. Remember: if it weren’t for this, Ohio State wouldn’t have been allowed a victory over the Crimson Cthulu.
GAME 10: THE MIDWEST LOVES REDEMPTION GAMES (PART 3)
Virginia Tech was the only team that beat the Ohio State Buckeyes before they retooled and marched themselves into history as the first victors of the College Football Playoff. After that, the Hokies took some time to appreciate the little things. This year, the Buckeyes are heading to Lane Stadium in without four star players due to suspension stemming from some mystery violation. Could there be another upset? Does Urban want to get another loss out of the way so he can buzz saw his way through the rest of the schedule? Will Frank Beamer celebrate a punt?! Or, perhaps, something more sinister?
Tune in on Labor Day at 8 PM on ESPN to find out!